There are two different categories of United States visas, immigrant and nonimmigrant. Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who wish to live permanently in the United States. Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who want to enter the United States on just a temporary basis. An Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer can help you learn more about which visa is right for you under your individual circumstances.
An immigrant visa is a visa issued to a foreign national who plans to work and live permanently in the United States. Typically, an employer or a relative will sponsor the person seeking an immigrant visa by filing an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This application is referred to as Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and can be found online here on the USCIS website. You can also use this form if you are either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and you want to file a petition for a relative who wishes to live and work in the U.S. permanently and acquire a Permanent Resident Card (green card). Your relative must meet certain eligibility requirements for this application to be successful.
Under certain circumstances, immigrants are able to petition on their own behalf. For example, an Abused Spouse or Parent of a US Citizen or a Spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident can successfully petition on their own. The same rule applies to a Special Immigrant Juvenile and a Special Immigrant Religious Worker. Your immigrant visa lawyer NYC will help you understand whether your case meets these criteria.
There are two different forms that can be used to submit a petition for an immigrant visa. The first form is called a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form is used if you are currently a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is seeking to establish their relationship with an eligible relative who wishes to obtain a Permanent Resident Card.
The other form that is used for an immigrant visa is a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. This form is used by employers to obtain an employment-based immigrant visa. It is crucial to use the correct immigrant visa form and to submit all of the required documentations in support of your petition. An Immigrant Visa I-130 Lawyer NYC can help you ensure that you are following all of the necessary requirements when you submit your petition.
Filing an I-130 Petition at a US Embassy or Consulate Abroad
In the past, a petitioner was able to file an I-130 petition at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This is not an option today and all I-130 petitions are filed with the USCIS.
Your immigrant visa lawyer NYC will help you understand the filing process and can assist in filing the petition for your relative.
Before moving forward with an application for a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative visa, it is necessary to make sure the person you are sponsoring to become a permanent resident of the U.S. is eligible for this visa. There are two categories of eligibility for this visa.
The first category of eligibility includes immediate relatives. Those eligible for the visa in this category include close relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, parents, or unmarried children under the age of 21. There is an unlimited number of visas available for immediate relatives who are eligible.
The second category of eligibility, called “family preference,” has a limited number of visas available each year. Those eligible within the family preference category include other relatives of a U.S. citizen (beyond their immediate family), such as siblings, cousins, or married children. In addition, this category also includes a legal permanent resident’s spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21.
If you file a Form I-130, it is considered the first step in helping your eligible relative apply to obtain a green card and immigrate to the United States. Merely filing or obtaining approval of the petition does not provide your relative any immigration benefit or status just yet. There are more steps to take to further that process.
In most cases, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will approve your Form I-130 if you successfully establish a relationship between you and your relative that allows them to qualify to immigrate to the United States. After the petition is approved, the individual seeking to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident will then apply to become a lawful permanent resident. This step will allow them to obtain a green card, and it is step two in the process.
An immigrant visa is always available if your relative is an immediate relative. If it is not an immediate relative relationship, then your relative may need to wait until a visa number becomes available. Additionally, each person that you are sponsoring may need a separate Form I-130 to be filled out and submitted. This process can be completed either online or by submitting the Form I-130 via mail.
In some cases, your relative may already be in the United States. If your relative is already within the U.S. and there is a visa available, your relative may be eligible to adjust status in the US, i.e. get their Green Card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. An Immigrant Visa Lawyer NYC can help understand such eligibility.
You can submit your petition for an immigrant visa to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services either by mailing the petition or by submitting it online. An immigrant visa lawyer NYC will be able to assist you in putting together your petition and ensuring that all necessary documentation and evidence has been included. Your petition must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before your case is allowed to proceed to the National Visa Center.
As the Petitioner, when you complete Form I-130, be sure to choose only one option in the section indicating that the beneficiary does either (1) intend to apply for adjustment of status inside the U.S., or (2) will pursue the visa processing while abroad. If you want to change your selection (to either adjust status in the U.S. or consular processing abroad), you must contact the USCIS to request this change if the Form I-130 is still pending.
If you wish to change this selection after your Form I-130 has already been approved, you may need to file another form. The form used to make these changes after the initial Form I-130 is approved is called Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition. If you have any questions regarding the immigrant visa application process, an Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer NYC can help.
Once your application has been submitted, either by your sponsor or yourself, the application will be forwarded on to the appropriate U.S. Consulate, or to the overseas Embassy. Your application will be processed from there, and if the application is successful, an immigrant visa will be issued if the immigrant is eligible to receive one.
Submitting a Form I-130 for an immigrant visa is just the first step in this process. The next steps involve the processing of the application with a National Visa Center (NVC), successful payments of the associated fees, submission of any required supporting documentation, and preparation for an interview.
In addition, if your application has been accepted and an immigrant visa is issued, you must then present your immigrant visa at a U.S. port-of-entry before the visa’s expiration date. As an intending immigrant, you will become a lawful permanent resident after the immigrant visa, and the necessary paperwork has been reviewed and endorsed by a Customs and Border Protection officer.
Once USCIS has approved your petition, your case will be transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) to be pre-processed. You will receive a welcome letter either via e-mail or through the mail. That letter will contain information allowing you to log in to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
When you log in to the CEAC, you can check for updates on your status. You can also receive messages and manage your case through this platform. If you need assistance or have questions regarding your case status, your Immigrant Visa I-130 Lawyer NYC can help you.
The next step involves payment of the application fees. You will also need to submit all of the required forms and supporting documentation for your application to the NVC. An Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer can help guide you through this process and will be able to explain in detail which documents need to be submitted with your application.
At this stage, your case will be reviewed to ensure that you have provided all of the required documentation in order to schedule your immigrant visa interview. Your immigrant visa interview is the next step in the immigration visa process.
Yes, one of the supporting documents you will need to submit is called an Affidavit of Support. An Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is a document signed by an individual—the sponsor—which confirms that they agree to accept financial responsibility for the applicant seeking to come to live in the United States. Although the Petitioner must complete an Affidavit of Support, a joint sponsor can also complete a second Affidavit of Support form on the applicant’s behalf. A joint sponsor is often required if the original sponsor’s income is considered insufficient.
It is important to know that the Affidavit of Support is legally enforceable. Typically, a sponsor will retain financial responsibility until the applicant either becomes a United States citizen or is credited for 40 qualifying quarters of work under the Social Security Act.
Once the Affidavit of Support has been submitted, the online visa application must be completed. There are some required financial documents that you will need to gather, as well as some additional civil documents that are needed to support your visa application. An Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer NYC can help you review these documents to help ensure your application is complete.
The civil documents that are needed vary for each country. These documents are required to be issued by the official issuing authority for your current country, but it is often helpful to hire an Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer NYC to help you navigate these documents and prepare them correctly.
Any documents that were not written in English or in the official language of the country from which the applicant is applying are required to have certified translations accompanying them. The translator will also need to include a statement confirming that he is competent to translate and that the translation is accurate. These documents will then need to be scanned and submitted for review.
The next step in obtaining an immigrant visa is to attend an interview with a consular officer. Before you arrive at your interview, you will need to schedule a medical appointment with an authorized doctor practicing in the country in which your interview is scheduled. The doctor must be approved by the embassy. If you have any other family members or derivative applicants who are also applying for a visa with you, they will also need to undergo their own medical appointments.
Prior to your interview, you must also make sure that you are registered to receive courier service and follow any additional pre-interview instructions that you have been given. Additionally, there are some documents that visa applicants must provide the consular officer with at the time of the interview. Be sure to locate these documents ahead of time and make copies of them to bring with you when you attend your interview. These required documents include the following:
Be sure to arrive at your interview on time and be prepared to show your interviewer all of the documents listed above. If you have any questions about what documents you need to bring to your interview, an Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer can give you more detailed instructions.
Understandably, immigrant visa applicants are often nervous and unsure of what to expect during the consular officer interview portion of this process. Knowing more about the process beforehand can help alleviate some of your stress and uncertainty.
During the interview, you will be asked questions by a consular officer. If you brought along any accompanying family member beneficiaries, they may also be questioned at this time. The purpose of the interview is for the consular officer to determine whether or not you are eligible to receive your immigrant visa. You may be asked questions about your family, marriage, background, and criminal history, if any. If you have an attorney, they may be able to help you prepare with some practice questions.
After the interview, you will learn whether you have been approved or denied for your immigrant visa.
The ideal outcome is for your immigrant visa application to be approved after you participate in the interview process. If this is the case for you, congratulations! There are just a few things that you need to do first before receiving your visa and traveling to the United States.
You will receive your immigrant visa on a page in your passport. Be sure to review the information printed in it as soon as possible to check for any errors. If you notice any spelling or other errors, you should contact the consulate or embassy immediately to get the errors corrected.
Next, you will need to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once you receive your visa and prior to traveling to the United States. You will not be issued a Permanent Resident Card until you pay this fee.
After your visa has been approved, you must apply for admission and arrive in the United States before the visa expiration date occurs. This date will be printed on your visa. Generally, an immigrant visa is valid for up to six months after the date the visa was issued.
One exception to this rule is that if your medical examination expires prior to the visa expiration date, your visa will only be valid up to that date. In this case, your visa will be valid for less than six months. If you have additional questions regarding this timeline, an Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer NYC can assist you further.
Another thing to keep in mind when traveling to the U.S. after receiving your visa is that the primary applicant is required to enter either before, or at the same time as any derivative family members entering the U.S. with visas. Also, remember that a visa does not necessarily guarantee entry into the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, along with the Department of Homeland Security have the ultimate authority to grant or deny permission.
Once you are admitted to the U.S, you will enter the country as a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder). You will then be permitted to live and work in the United States pursuant to your immigrant visa.
Unfortunately, some Form I-130 Petitions will end up being denied for a number of different reasons. Your visa application could be denied simply on the basis of a minor error made on your application, or due to a missing document that you are required to submit. In other cases, your petition could be denied because the person being sponsored is actually ineligible for the visa, or for another substantive reason.
The USCIS processing authorities have discretion over the decision whether or not to approve these petitions; however, the basis for their approval or denial will be upon the qualifications as provided by law. If a petition is denied, the agency will provide the applicant with the reasoning behind the denial.
If your Form I-130 Petition is denied, you have the option to appeal this decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. You can also opt to reapply and fix any mistakes that were made which caused the initial rejection of your petition. At this stage in the process, it is a good idea to contact an Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer who can help you figure out what went wrong and help you to correct any errors made on your first petition.
While there is no requirement that you must hire a lawyer, it can be enormously beneficial to you to hire an immigrant visa lawyer NYC. An attorney experienced in immigration law can help you to make sure that you are successfully completing each stage of the immigration visa application process. By hiring a knowledgeable Immigrant Visa I-130 USCIS Lawyer, you can avoid unnecessary delays in processing your petition, and also ensure that your application is complete and includes all necessary supporting documentation.
Additionally, immigration laws may change during the course of the worldwide pandemic. An attorney will be able to help you navigate any changes in the law and help you understand how they may impact your case.
At Feiner & Lavy P.C., Attorneys at Law, we know how to help our clients deal with all different types of immigration-related needs, including helping our clients obtain immigrant visas. With over four decades of experience, our lawyers work tirelessly to help those seeking citizenship and permanent residency in the United States to achieve their goals. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about what we can do to help.
**This is general information and is NOT intended to provide legal advice.
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